A vessel, identified as the SELI 1, began leaking oil between Cape Town Harbour and Robben Island on Friday night.
Cape Town disaster risk management centre spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said the mopping up of the oil began at 7am on Monday morning.
Aerial surveillance indicated that much of the oil seen leaking from the vessel at the weekend had been cleared up. "There is also no oil spotted between the SELI 1 wreckage and Robben Island; however black streaks are visible from the centre of the vessel for 400 metres moving to the north …," he said.
Investigations on Saturday showed the vessel had disintegrated into three pieces, said Solomons-Johannes. "It is believed the rough seas and high spells that were experienced yesterday [Friday] … resulted in the movement of the vessel and caused the oil spill from the vessel," he said.
Efforts to clean the oil were suspended until Monday due to rough seas.
The Panamanian-registered, and Turkish-operated ship was carrying 30 000 tonnes of coal and 600 tonnes of heavy fuel when it developed engine problems in September 2009 while on its way to Gilbraltar.
It has since remained there and South African authorities require R40-million to clear the wreckage. – Sapa, AFP